24 June 2022
INHSU has launched a new mentoring program ‘Storytelling for Advocacy’ in South Africa, with Kenya following soon. The program has been developed to help empower people with lived experience of hepatitis C and/or using drugs to use their voices to create change.
People who use drugs face discrimination every single day, and access to adequate healthcare is often out of reach due to harmful policies and entrenched stigma. The voices – and personal stories – of people who use drugs are imperative if we want to change this.
Why? Because these stories can challenge people’s perceptions, influence policy change, and help us achieve a future where people who use drugs have equitable access to the services, treatment, and support needed to improve health and live well.
How the program works
Funded by a grant from The Open Society Foundation, local storytelling experts in South Africa are working with people with lived experience of hepatitis C and/or using drugs across a four-month period, including workshops and 1-2-1 mentoring sessions.
At the end of the program, participants will have built their understanding and confidence in storytelling and also have a crafted story of their own to share, based around hepatitis C or harm reduction. Participants will also walk away with boosted confidence in networking, public speaking and more.
This program has been developed to empower people with lived experience of using drugs to tell their stories and become an advocate for their community. Building the capacity of people with lived experiences to share their story openly, can help drive policy change and deepen understanding about the issues facing people who use drugs.
Nikitah Habraken, Acting Executive Director, INHSU.
The program so far
The South African program is already in full swing, with our local South African storytelling consultants Andile Msomi and Mathapelo Mofokeng working with three participants, Werner (Cape Town), S’fiso (Durban), and Sizwe (Pretoria).
The first workshop was a huge success, and alongside the participants, we also welcomed representatives from The South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD), who can now take these storytelling skills back into their organisation and encourage clients and peers to use their voices for advocacy.
The Kenyan Program will launch in the coming months.
I now understand and see the value and impact our stories are going to make in the lives of those who get the opportunity to read them. These stories are going to be there for a long time. We are very fortunate to be chosen to be the voices of those who couldn’t speak for themselves or who never got the opportunity to.
Sizwe, a participant in the South African program.